Hiking at Greenwich Dunes, PEI (6 of 7)

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Aug 212016

IMG_3584 The sand is not red, but this beach is still magical.

The last day of our trip was spent at Greenwich, and it was a highlight for all of us. We were fortunate to meet up with friends who know the island like the back of their hands. If it wasn’t for them, we’d have missed the best part of this place. I’m going to explain it so you don’t miss it either!

We arrived to the area and went to the first indication for Greenwich Beach. There is a newly constructed boardwalk brings you to the beach. But first, a trip to the composting toilet. It’s very rare to see this kind of thing and it made me so, so happy. I don’t fully understand the system, any composting toilets I’ve used have needed the user to put sawdust in afterward, but this system seems more mechanical. Anyway, it was very cool.


Our merman

Like Basin Head, Greenwich Beach is supervised and has soft, white sand and lots of waves. It’s part of the Prince Edward Island National Park, which also includes Cavendish and Brackley beach complexes.

I didn’t know that Greenwich Beach and the Greenwich Dunes trail are separate. Close by, but separate. It’s the latter that we’d have missed if it wasn’t for my friend, Robyn. To access the hiking trails, you’ll want to drive to the Greenwich Interpretation Centre. There is a charge to enter this part of the trail and beach, but it’s totally worth it. It’s part of your PEI National Park pass. You can just pay to enter the park for the day (it cost us about $15), pick up a 7-Day pass, which also gets you into Green Gables Heritage Place, a season pass (Pro Tip from Robyn: “For anyone planning way ahead, in the spring a family pass for the parks that is good for the whole summer goes on sale for 50$, which is a pretty good price if you plan to go to the beach more than 2 times”, or a year-long Discovery Pass, which allows you unlimited access all year to parks, museums, historic sites and marine conservation areas across the country.


Walking over Bowley Pond

There are a few hiking trails here. We did one of the longer ones, which was 4.8km, return. There’s a bit of everything on this walk– forest, a floating boardwalk over Bowley Pond towards the beautiful, magical Greenwich Dunes. You eventually end up at the beach (the same beach we visited at the start of the day).

A few considerations for parents:

The Greenwich Dune and Tlaqatik trails are “moderate,” not “easy.” The Greenwich one is quite easy, but with kids, it’s way longer than you’d think.

So, you want to bring the bare minimum with you. Probably not chairs and the umbrella if you’re planning on staying at the beach.

There is nowhere to get water on the entire hike, and the only water on the beach is salty ocean water. It can get very, very hot on this long walk in the summer. Please bring lots of water and snacks. Hats, too.

bug This is the first trip we’ve ever taken without a baby carrier. True, we no longer have babies, but we carried the kids on our backs or shoulders for a good part of the time, which is way harder than if we’d had the Chimparoo or Ergo. A stroller would be okay for most of the way, but maybe something like a City Mini that folds up easily and is light, because there’s a little incline just before you get to the stairs for the beach.

There are waves at the beach, as well as rip currents. Again, it’s a supervised beach and the currents are marked to their best ability, but it’s not the place I’d let my really young kids wander around alone. Morrison’s Beach was perfect for that.

bug2The dunes here, truly are majestic. I felt like I was back in Scotland. These dunes exist because sand from the beach is blown inland, and blades of marram grass trap the sand, creating the dunes. I saw a couple teenaged girls off the paths, which is a really great way to destroy this beautiful area. I was going to give them a hard time, but we decided to bury Papa in the sand.

If there’s one beach to make sure you get to in PEI, it’s this one.